Two U.S. Postal Service employees have been arrested in Upstate New York after allegedly using a post office as a drug hub.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western New York announced Wednesday that Ralph Minni, 52, and his girlfriend Grace Marie Lopez, 30, of Greece, N.Y., were arrested and charged in separate criminal complaints after allegedly using the U.S. Post Office in the Town of Greece to receive cocaine and marijuana over the past four years.
Minni is the manager for the Greece post office and Lopez works for the Post Office at the main Jefferson Road facility in Rochester. Both are accused of using their positions to obtain cocaine and marijuana through the mail and then redistributing the narcotics in the Rochester area.
They’re charged with conspiring and attempting to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.
The Democrat & Chronicle reports federal investigators first learned of possible drug trafficking by Minni in 2018. An informant allegedly made eight buys of marijuana from Lopez and bought guns from Minni twice while recording conversations, including discussions about how drug packages come through the Greece post office allegedly from suppliers in California.
According to WKBW, Minni was observed removing packages from the floor of the Greece post office and taking them into his private office. Surveillance video also showed Minni taking cocaine from his desk or pocket and giving it to another employee to snort.
Prosecutors said a search warrants executed at Minni’s home, office and car uncovered $75,000 worth of narcotics, including THC, marijuana, and cocaine, 40 firearms, over 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and a bullet proof vest.
The years-long investigation included involvement by the FBI, the United States Postal Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service with additional assistance by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Greece Police Department, and New York State Police.